Sunday Nov 17, 2013

Just how bad is your current content management strategy?

For many companies, content management is an after thought.  Valuable documents, forms, images, videos and countless other forms of content are scattered across applications, shared drives, local drives and various repositories. To make matters worse, a lot of the information in these locations is garbage - it has no remaining value.  Companies find themselves storing strategic plans and executive presentations along with the announcement flyer from last years ice cream social.  It's time to demand better.

The more your company grows, the worse this problem gets.  At some point, something has to be done in order to get information under control.  The endless growth of documents, files and other information eventually demands your attention but where should you first focus your efforts?  Every company is different and is going to have different areas that need immediate attention. To that end, we have developed a very quick and easy online assessment tool that will help you develop an initial set of focus areas.  You cannot (and should not) try to solve every problem at once, so setting the right priorities is essential.

Our goal here on the Oracle WebCenter team is to help customers make the right decisions about how to manage information and then deliver it in a way that optimizes the desired user experience.  We encourage you to consider how you manage and store your most valuable information, how you sort the proverbial wheat from the chaff, and make the most of the resources you have available.  

Check out our new WebCenter Content information page for more details and insights on how your company can be as efficient as possible. Then let us know how we can help your company in the same way we have helped so many others.

Monday Nov 11, 2013

Becoming the well-integrated content company (and combating AIUTLVFS)

Every single day, each of us create more and more content. Sometimes it is brand new material and many times it is iterations of existing content, but no one would argue that information and content growth is growing at an almost exponential rate.

With all this content being created and stored, a number of problems naturally arise. One of the most common issues that users run into is "Am I Using The Latest Version of this File Syndrome", or AIUTLVFS. This insidious syndrome is all too common and results in ineffective, poor or downright wrong business decisions being made.  When content or files are unavailable or incorrect within the scope of key business processes, the chance for erroneous and costly business decisions is magnified even further.

For many companies, the ideal scenario is to be able to connect multiple business systems, both old and new, into one common content repository.  Not only does this reduce content duplication, it also helps guarantee that everyone in various departments is working off the proverbial "same page".  Sounds simple - but for many organizations, the proliferation of file shares, SharePoint sites, and other storage silos of content keep the dream of a more efficient business a distant one.

We've created some online assets to help you in your evaluation and eventual improvement of your current content management and delivery systems. Take a few minutes to check out our Online Assessment Tool.  It's quick, easy and just might provide you with insights into how you can improve your current content ecosystem. While you are there, check out our new Infographic that outlines common issues faced by companies today. Feel free to save our informative Infographic PDF and share it with business colleagues and your management to help them understand the business costs and impact of inaction. Together we can stop AIUTLVFS in its tracks and run our businesses more effectively than ever.

Additionally, we hope you will take a few minutes to visit our new and informative webpages dedicated to the value of a well connected, fully integrated content management system. It's a great place to learn more about how integrating WebCenter Content into your infrastructure can lower your operational costs while boosting process and worker efficiency.

Wednesday Oct 16, 2013

Save Paper, Time and Money with a Fully Integrated Invoice Processing System

Oracle Corporation
Get the Guide: Delivering a Cost Efficient and Integrated A/P Soluttion

Save Paper, Time and Money with a Fully Integrated Invoice Processing System

Organizations today are looking to implement document imaging to help manage multiple business processes and realize the benefits of automation across their enterprises. With Oracle WebCenter Imaging, and its out-of-the-box integrations to Oracle Applications, companies can create a complete transactional content management platform and extend the benefits throughout the entire organization.

We encourage you to read our guide, Delivering a Cost Efficient and Integrated A/P Automation Solution with Oracle WebCenter Imaging to learn how to:

  • Get a fast, rapid ROI by automating image process for accounts payables
  • Fully understand the value of automating form and image processing and integration with Oracle E-Business Suite
  • Extend the benefits by leveraging the same imaging infrastructure to automate other business processes
Download the white paper today and learn more about how you can automate important business processes.
Register Now

Monday Oct 14, 2013

World Paper Free Day is Coming Next Week

Hello Everyone,

I am willing to bet that most of you have never heard of "World Paper Free Day" but yes, there really is such a thing!  Basically, it is a volunteer initiative to help businesses understand how reliance on paper-based processes can have a detrimental effect on how efficient your business is.  Here at Oracle, we are big believers in eliminating reliance on paper and all the problems it causes.  You may have seen one of our recent webcasts on the subject, or viewed one of our recent customer testimonials. Whatever the case, we encourage you to step back and evaluate the processes you have in place today and ask yourself, could this be better if the capture, scanning and routing of inbound documents, faxes and images was automated?

For many companies, the obvious first place to start is Accounts Payable Invoicing as pretty much every company on earth has an AP department.  But there are many other areas within a business that can benefit from process automation.  It might be the Procurement process, or General Ledger, or Sales Contract management or a Human Resource Management process.

World Paper Free Day is October 24th.  Why not make it a milestone for your organization and make it the day that you reconsider how you do business, and consider how Oracle WebCenter Imaging Solutions can help you make a change for the better. 

To see what other Oracle customers are already doing to save money and be more efficient, view our collection of customers success stories here.

Tuesday Oct 01, 2013

Digital Signatures for Oracle WebCenter: Speeding up processes and guaranteeing authenticity

digital signature is basically a way to ensure that an electronic document (e-mail, spreadsheet, text file, etc.) is authentic. Authentic means that you know who created the document and you know that it has not been altered in any way since that person created it.  For many document workflows and processes, guaranteeing authenticity is critical and in many cases, it is required for compliance purposes.  Organizations are increasingly investing in Enterprise Content Management and Business Process Management automation to enhance their operations, increase efficiencies and ensure compliance, not to mention the hopes of cutting costs. Unfortunately unless they are also implementing a compliant and standards based digital signature solution that is integrated into the enterprise, their overall ROI on these investments is greatly reduced due to the inefficiencies of having to print, sign, and scan signature-dependent documents.

Our friends at ARX and Bezzotech have focused their expertise in this area and are hosting a webcast on Thursday of this week, in conjunction with the IOUG, to educate and inform you about the value of adding digital signatures to documents or other files within WebCenter Content. 

Be sure to join them for "E-Signatures in Oracle WebCenter Content" on Thursday, October 3, 2013 12:00 PM- 1:00 PM CST.  You can register for the event by clicking this link.  You can also learn more at http://www.arx.com/ and http://bezzotech.com/.


Thursday Sep 05, 2013

What WebCenter info will you gain this year at OpenWorld?

Oracle OpenWorld 2013 is all about learning new things and gaining new insights that will help you and your business be more effective and successful. For many organizations, getting a handle on how information such as forms, faxes and other documents is a key focus area because there is a large and fast return on investment potential (and who doesn't want to see that!!).

That is where WebCenter Content and Imaging come in to play. It might be true that forms processing doesn't have that much sizzle, but as we all know, the CIO and CFO care a lot more about saving money and cutting operational costs then the latest sexy toy.  Forms processing is indeed a bit of an "unsung hero" but probably deserves another look by most companies.

Before you show up at OpenWorld this year, check out this blog post by our friends Dwayne Parkinson and Dan Stitely over at Team Informatics on the issue and then stop by and talk to them directly in the Oracle Demogrounds this year. You and your boss might be very glad you did!

http://blog.teaminformatics.com/2013/09/03/forms-the-unsung-hero-of-webcenter-content/

And for a full list of Oracle WebCenter related sessions, labs and event, be sure to visit the Focus On WebCenter page.

Tuesday Sep 03, 2013

Oracle OpenWorld 13: Learning from the success of others

September is upon us and that can only mean one thing - OpenWorld is just around the corner!  One of the best things about the show for WebCenter customers is the chance to learn from other customers about what worked, what did not and how to get the most value from your information and the infrastructure that supports it all.

All of us want to help our organizations save money and be more efficient.  Logitech is one company that will be speaking this year about how they did just that using WebCenter Imaging and related technologies. Logitech is a global provider of personal computer accessories. Their Accounts Payable department was manually processing over 90,000 AP invoices, 100,000 employee expense reports, and 12,000 smart claims per year.  With this kind of load, they were understandably having difficulty managing the increased workload of manual data entry and complex validations. Physically entering the data into Oracle® Financials led to a large number of data inaccuracies and exceptions, creating a long cycle for purchase order to payment disbursement.

With support from Keste, a leading WebCenter business partner, Logitech was able to save many thousands of dollars a year and radically improve business operating efficiency.  How did they do it?  How much did they save?  There is only one way to find out... join us on Monday morning, September 23rd at 10:45 am in the Moscone West 2014 room to hear all the details!

To see the full list of sessions dedicated to WebCenter, check out the online guide at https://oracleus.activeevents.com/2013/connect/focusOnDoc.do?focusID=22574.

We hope to see you in San Francisco later this month!

Wednesday Aug 21, 2013

Digital Signatures and Oracle WebCenter: The Future Is Now

Today's blog post showcases the Digital Signature solution for Oracle WebCenter Content provided by one of our many business partners, ARX. 

Affordably automate your signature dependent processes with the proper standards, controls, and integrity using CoSign® by ARX

As more and more organizations adopt paper-free processes and automate their document-based workflows, the “wet ink” signature requirement stands out as something of an evolutionary laggard. CoSign digital signatures are already in widespread use. They leverage open standards to allow paperless processes that are fast, secure compliant, and reliable.

The CoSign Connector for Oracle WebCenter Content (WCC) allows users to access CoSign features directly within the WCC interface and leverages repository features including workflow, revision control, and content security. Documents can be digitally signed, verified, and reviewed from WCC browser screens. No software installation is needed on the user’s PC. The ability to quickly view digital signature metadata indicating who signed, when they signed, and why not only increases your business process velocity but also its reliability because CoSign-signed documents have effect wherever they travel. The digital signature can be examined for trust and integrity without re-connecting to CoSign or WCC. Compliant digital signature features are accessible from WCC action menus and the connector provides a user friendly signing ceremony page for ad hoc and/or high volume signing.


Additionally, CoSign by ARX can be deployed as a single signing solution for all your Oracle® systems and managed content. By being compatible with your major content authoring applications, such as, PDF, Word, and Excel, the CoSign digital signature travels with the document for the remainder of its lifecycle because the native application can inspect the digital signature for proof of document integrity, signer identity, and signer intent without proprietary verification software. CoSign also meets the needs of organizations in the most tightly regulated industries by providing digital signatures that are legally enforceable and that allow compliance with industry and worldwide regulations including ESIGN, UETA, EU directives and HIPAA, FDA Title 21 CFR Part 11, SOX, & PIPEDA.

To learn more about the CoSign Connector for WebCenter, please view the CoSign Connector for Oracle WCC demo visit http://www.arx.com/flash/cosign-connector-for-oracle-wcc, or contact the ARX team directly at sales@arx.com to schedule a consultation. 

Tuesday Aug 20, 2013

Oracle WebCenter Content: Digital Asset Management

This week, we are going to touch on a topic that doesn't get much hype, but is extremely important in your content management strategy: Digital Asset Management!

Oracle WebCenter Content’s digital asset management capability allows organizations to store, find, view, and use digital assets and rich media quickly and easily. Content, collateral, and individual asset items can be made available instantly in the appropriate formats for use on Web sites, in print materials, or in other programs. Assets can be protected and controlled through rich and configurable access control. Oracle’s digital asset management solution automates routine tasks, such as the process of creating multiple renditions, allowing you to effectively manage and appropriately use your rich media assets. 

Catalog Your Assets for Secure and Instant Access
Global 2000 organizations are constantly seeking better ways to effectively communicate with  and provide value to their employees, business partners, and consumers. Rich media and  digital content are used both as consumer product and as assets in a wide range activities  range of activities including advertising, sales and marketing, manufacturing, and distance  learning. However, providing rich media can creates unique burdens on an organization.  Some rich media solutions require high cost specialized hardware and software. Accessing  large files from a central storage location creates increased network load. Lastly, providing a  method for users to securely access, share, and modify digital content can be cumbersome.

Oracle WebCenter Content helps you address these issues by providing easy access to find  and use your rich assets quickly and easily from anywhere. With Oracle WebCenter Content  you can quickly create renditions of digital content by turning large images, video, or audio files into high-resolution, low-resolution, resized, or thumbnail versions based upon your business needs. 

Manage Rich Media Files Effectively
Oracle WebCenter Content enables automation of routine tasks and effectively manages rich  media files. With secure Web-based access, employees across your organization can quickly and easily access, share, reuse, and modify digital content. Oracle WebCenter Content  provides a rich set of digital asset management features, including 
  • Workflow, version control, security, archiving, subscriptions, content conversion,  collaboration, record disposition, and Web publication assets leveraging core capabilities of Oracle WebCenter Content 
  • Content check-in and accessibility from anywhere with Web-based and Windows Explorer interfaces 
  • Compression of content to decrease bandwidth demands 
  • Automatic categorization of assets for easy searching 
  • Quick identifying of files via automatically created thumbnail renditions  
  • Asset selection and download in one operation 
  • Secure content distribution - easily and quickly 
Provide a Foundation for Key Business Applications 

Oracle WebCenter Content digital asset management capability provides the underlying  foundation for a variety of key business applications, such as the following: 

Image Management Application
With Oracle’s digital asset management solution, you can easily manage popular image formats such as PSD (Photoshop document), JPEG, GIF, BMP, and TIFF files; store unlimited image renditions in one source for quick reuse of any format or size; and automatically format images to the appropriate size, shape, resolution, or aspect ratio. Multiple renditions, including thumbnails, Web versions, and print versions, are automatically created and compressed at the time of check-in for use in HTML pages or marketing collateral—saving thousands of hours of manual labor in resaving files. 

Video Management Application
Oracle’s digital asset management solution allows you to work with common video formats such as MPEG, QuickTime, Windows Media, and MP3 files; pinpoint specific scenes of video using a storyboard; and view them immediately. You can store multiple renditions of video in one source for various bandwidth and size requirements and integrate resulting files with streaming servers. With Oracle’s digital asset management solution, you can easily access storyboards and closed-captioned text, while administrators can configure the system to generate appropriate proxies and metadata.

Be sure to check back later in the week, as we will have some exciting assets and a customer case study you won't want to miss! 

Thursday Aug 15, 2013

Meeting the Expectations of Today's Knowledge Workers

(Part 2 of a 2-Part Post)

Guest post: John Klinke, Senior Principal Product Manager, Oracle WebCenter Content 

In my last post, I briefly discussed the expectations that users have today when it comes to user experience, mobile access and application integration. Today, with the latest release of WebCenter Content and Imaging now available, I want to call out the ways that WebCenter helps meet those expectations, and many others.

With the latest version of WebCenter, we've made huge strides in terms of usability, mobile access, automated capture / imaging and of course, application integration. Here are just a few of the new feature highlights that your users are going to love.

Web User Interface

  • A new modern, fast, intuitive web UI that includes user-friendly features like instant search suggestions, favorites, and drag and drop file uploading. The existing native web UI will still be available to support user capabilities like workflows, digital asset management, and records management, but for customers that have basic document management needs, the new UI is far superior in terms of ease of use. 

Mobile Apps

  • Native apps for iPhones, iPads and Android mobile devices. These mobile apps allow users to easily search or browse for files within WebCenter Content, favorite them, share them, and save them locally for offline access.  Once your WebCenter Content environment is upgraded, be sure to download these apps from the Apple iTunes Store or Google Play.

Capture and Distributed Capture

  • A completely re-architected capture solution ported to Java EE providing tighter integration with the Oracle technology stack as well as improved scalability and performance. Customers will now be able to use this unified solution for both capture and distributed capture scenarios with both user and admin UIs being browser-based with cross-browser support.

WebCenter Forms Recognition 

  • Enhancements to the WebCenter Forms Recognition solution including an improved data recognition and extraction engine, Windows 7 support, and localization in 16 languages for the browser-based Verifier.

SharePoint Integration

  • A Microsoft SharePoint Adapter for allowing customers to seamlessly store content from SharePoint in WebCenter Content so it can be easily accessed from other applications like WebCenter Portal, WebCenter Sites (via the new WebCenter Sites connector), E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft, Siebel, JD Edwards, Primavera and Documaker.

Additional Enhancements

  • XDS Support for Healthcare: WebCenter Content now support XDS (a Healthcare industry standards-based spec for sharing of docs across systems). This allows WebCenter Content to act as the document repository for patient electronic health records.
  • Desktop Integration Suite: User experience improvements for Windows Explorer and Microsoft Outlook integrations as well as support for the enterprise libraries in the new Web UI.
  • Records Management: Enhancements to records management batch and dispositions processing to be cluster-aware and distribute records management jobs across nodes in a cluster.
  • Oracle Enterprise Manager Integration: Tighter Integration to allow tracking of metrics for WebCenter Content’s content server and inbound refinery activity and health.

Wednesday Jul 31, 2013

Expectations of Today's Knowledge Workers

It Ain't Easy Being a Knowledge Worker!

Guest post: John Klinke, Senior Principal Product Manager, Oracle WebCenter Content

(Part 1 of a 2-Part Post)

Knowledge workers today have high expectations when it comes to enterprise content management. They want content to be easy to find, easy to share, and at their fingertips whether they are working on their computer, a mobile phone, or a tablet. 

In my product management role at Oracle, I face the same frustrations as other knowledge workers face when it comes to tracking down the latest version of a document, or accessing files while on the road, or getting a large file to my colleague without hitting email file size restrictions. I also see firsthand the potential of being able to re-use content across different applications and streamlining business processes like case management. Like others, there are times when I’ve got too much to do in too little time, and I appreciate any productivity improvement that gives me access to the files I need without hitting a new login screen or having to click five times before getting to a download button.

To bring about these productivity improvements, a successful ECM solution needs to excel in 3 key areas: user experience, mobility, and application integration.  User experience needs to be consumer-grade. An ECM user interface should be fast, intuitive, and designed to address the critical content management use cases around quickly finding, viewing, and sharing files. On the mobility front, an ECM solution must provide engaging mobile applications that are optimized for each mobile device. Knowledge workers on their phone or tablet should be able to quickly locate the files their looking for, easily share them with others, and tag them for offline viewing or later retrieval. For application integration, ECM solutions should give knowledge workers seamless access to files they need in context without placing additional burdens on IT with regards to deployment, maintenance or content governance.


Mortenson Construction Builds Faster with Oracle WebCenter

Learn how Mortenson Construction has used Oracle WebCenter technologies to improve the timely flow of project content to collaborative teams, reduce costly rework and improve customer satisfaction:


Thursday Jul 18, 2013

Saving Money the Hyundai Way

Hyundai Motor Company is a well-known, global brand and is part of a very large, multi-faceted worldwide corporation.  The automotive division as been seeing some very rapid growth and all you have to do is notice how many Hyundai vehicles on the road these days to see proof positive of that.  (Disclosure: I recently joined the ranks of satisfied Hyundai owners - the Santa Fe is quite hard to beat!)  

But with rapid growth often comes growing pains, and Hyundai knew they needed to address infrastructure performance and even more importantly, process and team performance. With thorough planning and analysis, they devised a plan to centralize content management, drastically improve infrastructure performance by using the Oracle Exa platform and take advantage of Oracle integration up and down the software stack.  But perhaps more importantly, they also took a look at the WAY they do business and how their teams inter-operate and share information.

One big area for improvement turned out to be their reliance on paper-based business processes. Using paper for contracts, invoices, internal forms, documentation, operating procedure documents and many other information types was causing important business processes to be sluggish. Critically, information was becoming harder and harder to find as the volume of paper continued to increase. Something had to be done!  

Enter Oracle WebCenter Content and Imaging solutions.  By reducing the number of internal information silos in use, information became easier to locate.  By utilizing imaging and scanning technologies across their distributed office and showroom network they are realizing some very impressive cost reductions. Impressive as in a savings of around $1 Million U.S. Dollars per year!  Below is the quote that Hyundai issued about the savings they are getting: 

"We chose Oracle Exalogic, Oracle Exadata, and Oracle WebCenter Content to support our new document centralization system over their competitors as they offer stable storage for petabytes of data and high processing speeds. We have cut the overall time spent each day on document-related work by around 85%, saved up to US$1.1 million in paper and printing costs, laid the foundation for a smart work environment, and supported our future growth in the competitive car industry," said Kang Tae-jin, manager, General Affairs Team, Hyundai Motor Company.

Take a look around your office. Do you see people handling large amounts of paper as part of their every day jobs?  Is it easy for employees to quickly find the information they need so that fast, proper business decisions can be made? Are workers still copying and printing out paper documents to use as reference materials or to file?  And what happens to all that paper over time?  Is it stored properly and securely? Or do you have a large annual company bonfire every year?  :)

One thing is for sure - there is room for operational improvements no matter the size of your company. To be more competitive, Hyundai has to be as nimble and responsive as they can be.  You know what? It's working. The other metric in all of this is customer satisfaction and I can tell you from personal experience they have been quite impressive.  Yes, I still had to fill out a form when signing up for the lease, but I know it is being scanned, classified, recognized and routed efficiently due to Oracle WebCenter Imaging technology. The speed at which the process moved was very fast, there was no confusion or duplicate content, web access to my personal information and car details was immediately available and the sales, finance and service teams were in lockstep.

If you cannot say the same about how your business operates, we think we can help!

If you would like to see a short, introductory video illustrating the value of WebCenter Imaging, click this link to watch it now. If you would like to learn more about our Imaging solutions, how they work and hear more customer success stories and read up on other details, please visit our WebCenter Imaging solutions pages.

We hope to speak with you soon!

The Oracle WebCenter Team 

Tuesday Jul 16, 2013

Cats, Bacon and the Bottom Line

Recently I came across an Infographic illustrating the popularity of cats and bacon within web searches. The results are somewhat startling and as a marketing professional, it immediately had me wondering about how we could utilize this knowledge here on the Oracle WebCenter team.  

Well, the fact of the matter is that we are almost certainly NOT going to have a cat, bacon or any combination as a mascot or emblem anytime soon, even if it is a cat as cute as mine, seen here loitering in a box. What we are going to do is continue to focus on real business challenges that are vexing our customers today and help them find new ways to save money, increase efficiency and drive increased profitability.

One of the ways Oracle WebCenter is helping customers is via the automation of essential business processes like Accounts Payable invoicing.  While perhaps it is not as exciting as a kitten or a piece of bacon to some people, to those responsible for improving the bottom line, it's extremely important.  In a recent survey, 69% of accounts payable professionals surveyed chose reducing the cost of invoice processing as their top priority as they address the cost of doing business.

If this is important to you, we invite you to learn more about how WebCenter Imaging can automate your invoicing processes and be used across multiple transactional processes to lower costs, reduce errors and radically improve operating efficiency.  Be sure to check out our introductory video on the topic as well as our PDF booklet of customer successes in this area.  We hope we can assist you with the same type of improvements.  At the very least, you'll have more time to do those searches for kittens and bacon!  :)

And OK, after you have researched the ways Oracle WebCenter Imaging can help you run a more profitable business, you might want to see the aforementioned infographic. Given these numbers, you just might want to make your corporate mascot a kitten (or bacon). :)

Source: Marketo, July 2013

Monday Jul 15, 2013

Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale.....

This will not be the tale of a fateful trip or a three-hour tour gone awry.

But it is the all-too-familiar tale of modern organizations that in 2013, are still relying on paper-based business processes. Every time I am asked to "please fax in the form when it is complete", I wonder to myself... what is happening with this information? How will it get entered into whatever transactional system might be in place behind the scenes? Will it have to be re-typed by someone else or is it automatically scanned, intelligently recognized and routed appropriately, based on specific field values on the form?

Sadly, it is often the former scenario that takes place. Somewhere there is a clerk that must re-key in the data and hopefully make zero errors in the process. In the mean time, absolutely nothing else is happening with this business process and the result is hours or even days in unnecessary delays.

When it comes to a common process like Accounts Payable invoicing, these kinds of slow downs introduce a number of problems including late payment penalties, inability to handle growing invoice volumes and of course, the physical storage issue.

OK, so if the issue is so common, why don't more companies do something about it? Often times, organizations don't fully understand the cost savings opportunity in front of them and to some degree, there is the "it's working well enough for now so lets not spend any money on that issue" mentality at work, especially in a world of tight budgets.

More forward looking companies are investing in capture, scanning and imaging technologies that drive down their current costs and deliver a fast return on investment. If you are using Oracle E-Business Suite in conjunction with your AP processes, you really owe it to your self to learn more about how you can improve your existing processes with Oracle WebCenter Imaging Solutions

For starters, check out our recently created screencast on the topic, along with what we call a "Brag Book" that includes several customer stories confirming the real-life benefits of WebCenter Imaging. There are not any pictures of Ginger, Maryann or the Professor, but you will get ideas and insights from other customers about the value of WebCenter Imaging. Even better!  

And now, in the immortal words of Thurston Howell III.... "Quickly Lovey, another Perrier and lime!"

Have a good week everyone....

Friday Jun 21, 2013

Taking a Flying Leap

Yesterday, I went skydiving with three of my children.  It was thrilling, scary, invigorating and exciting. While there is obvious risk involved, the reward and feeling of success was well worth it. You might already be wondering what skydiving would have to with WebCenter, so let me explain.

Implementing a skydiving program and becoming an instructor does not happen overnight.  It does not happen with the purchase of the needed technology. Not one of us would go out, buy a parachute, the harnesses, helmet and all the gear and be able to convince anyone that we are now ready to be a skydiving instructor. The fact is that obtaining the technology is merely a small piece of the overall process and so is the case with managing content in your company. You don't just buy the right software (Oracle WebCenter Content) and go to your boss and declare information management success. There is planning, research and effort that goes into deploying software of any kind and especially when it is as mission-critical to the success of your business as Enterprise Content Management.

To become a certified skydiving instructor takes at least 3 years of commitment and often longer. In the United States, candidates must complete over 500 solo jumps of their own over a minimum of 36 months and then must complete additional rigorous training under observation.  When you consider the amount of time and effort involved, it's not unlike getting a college degree and anyone that has trusted their lives to one of these instructors will no doubt appreciate their dedication to the curriculum.  Implementing an ECM system won't take that long, but it certainly requires commitment, analysis and consideration.

But guess what?  Humans are involved and that means that mistakes can happen and that rules change.  This struck me while reading an excellent post on darkreading.com by Glenn S. Phillips entitled "Mission Impossible: 4 Reasons Compliance is Impossible".  His over-arching point was that with information management and security, environments change and people are involved meaning the work is never done.  He stated that you can never claim your compliance efforts are complete because of the following reasons.

  1. People are involved.  And lets face it, some are more trustworthy than others.
  2. Change is Constant. There is always some new technology coming along that is disruptive. Consumer grade cloud file sharing and sync tools come to mind here.
  3. Compliance is interpreted, not defined.  Laws and the judges that read them are always on the move.
  4. Technology is a tool, not a complete solution. There is no magic pill.

The skydiving analogy holds true here as well.  Ultimately, a single person packs your parachute.  For obvious reasons, you prefer that this person be trustworthy but there are no absolute guarantees of a 100% error-free scenario.  Weather and wind conditions are never a constant and the best-laid plans for a great day of skydiving are easily disrupted by forces outside of your control.  Rules and regulations vary by location and may be updated at any time and as I mentioned early on, even the best technology on its own will only get you started.

The good news is that, like skydiving, with the right technology, the right planning, the right team and a proper understanding of the rules and regulations that govern your industry, your ECM deployment can be a great success.  Failure to plan for any of the 4 factors that Glenn outlined in his article will certainly put your deployment and maybe even your company at risk, so consider them carefully.

As a final aside, for those of you who consider skydiving an incredibly dangerous and risky pastime, consider this comparative statistic.  In 2012, the U.S. Parachute Association recorded 19 fatal skydiving accidents in the U.S. out of roughly 3.1 million jumps.  That’s 0.006 fatalities per 1,000 jumps. By comparison, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that there were 34,080 deaths due to car accidents in 2012.  Based on the percentages, one could argue that it is safer to jump out of a plane than to drive to the airport where the skydiving will take place.

While the way you manage, secure, classify, control, retain and dispose of company files may not carry as much risk as driving or skydiving, it certainly carries risk for the organization when not planned and deployed appropriately.  Consider all the factors involved in your organization as you make your content management plans.  For additional areas of consideration, be sure to download our free whitepaper on the topic entitled "The Top 10 Criteria for Choosing an ECM System" which is available for download here.

About

Oracle WebCenter is the center of engagement for business—powering exceptional experiences for customers, partners, and employees. It connects people, process, and information with the most complete portfolio of portal, Web experience management, content, imaging and collaboration technologies.

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Today